Painting your fireplace is a relatively easy way to spruce up the look of your home. Still, knowing which paint is safe to use on and inside your fireplace can be confusing with all the different types and materials of fireplaces on the market. So, can you paint a fireplace with regular paint?
It’s not recommended to use regular paint since it is not heat resistant up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the maximum temperature most fireplaces reach. Use heat-resistant paint for the interior and exterior of your fireplace.
If you’d like to learn more about whether or not you can paint your fireplace with regular paint (between gas, electric, and wood-burning fireplaces), then keep reading. We’ll also discuss different fireplace materials which you may or may not be able to paint, like concrete, stone, steel, tile, or wood hearths and surrounds. This way, you can start your next fireplace paint project with confidence.
Can You Paint A Fireplace With Regular Paint?
If you plan to use your fireplace, it’s best to paint the interior and exterior of your fireplace with heat-resistant paint. If you do not plan to light fires in your fireplace, you can use regular paint to paint it. Whether or not you use your fireplace is a good determining factor for whether or not it’s safe to use regular paint in your fireplace.
For instance, if you won’t be burning anything in your fireplace, it’s perfectly fine to paint the firebox (where the fire burns) with regular paint. Nothing will get too hot inside, so the paint won’t come off or cause toxic fumes. There also won’t be any peeling or stray paint chips that would occur, like if you painted the fireplace with regular paint and did light a fire.
If you plan to use your fireplace, you should use heat-resistant paint for the interior and exterior. The average temperature range a fireplace burns at is between 1,200 degrees and 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and most regular paints are not designed to be heat-resistant above 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Choosing heat-resistant paint ensures that it won’t bubble, chip, and peel or cause toxic fumes when it’s mixed with high heat.
Since most homeowners paint the firebox, they require a heat-resistant paint. You’ll also want to think about what the firebox is constructed with and what paint adheres to that material best. Fireboxes are often made from either brick, metal, or concrete. Flat black paint is a good choice for brick, while stove paint is a super-sticker to metal.
What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint A Fireplace?
You can paint the exterior of most fireplaces with heat-resistant interior latex paint.
Most formulations of indoor latex paint can stand up against fireplace temperatures ranging between 150 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want to consider adding a paint primer for added heat protection. ‘Regular’ paints often only have heat protection up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can paint the interior of most fireplaces with heat-resistant paint that withstands blazing temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
We like Vitcas, Krylon, Rust-oleum, Sherwin Williams, and Behr for heat-resistant interior latex paint and high-temperature stove and fireplace paint.
Heat-resistant paints designated for hot appliances come packaged as a spray bottle or traditional bucket of paint.
Can You Paint A Gas Fireplace With Regular Paint?
Gas fireplaces shouldn’t be painted with regular paint if they are used since gas fireplaces burn around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, the interior of a gas fireplace should be painted only with heat-resistant paint designed for a gas furnace. It’s recommended to use heat-resistant paint on the exterior as well because heat travels outwards.
In most prefabricated gas fireplace models, the hearth, insert, and firebox are made from metal, and the metal often requires a touch-up to look new again thanks to repeated use. But these parts will be heating up when the fireplace is on, so regular paint won’t do the job.
So, if you want to freshen up your gas fireplace, go for it – but not with regular paint.
Can You Paint An Electric Fireplace With Regular Paint?
What about electric fireplaces with artificial flames – can regular paint be used too?
Electric fireplaces can be painted, as they don’t produce an actual flame, so they don’t heat up as much. There will be a heating unit installed, so the fireplace will get hot, but most heat-resistant paints will be able to take that.
Even though you can paint an electric fireplace, they’re usually not designed to be painted. However, you can paint the surrounding area that your electric fireplace is built into – like the wall or TV stand. Since most electric fireplaces give off some heat and aren’t purely for show, heat-resistant paint is the better choice to use over regular paint.
Can You Paint A Wood-Burning Fireplace With Regular Paint?
It’s not recommended to apply regular paint inside your wood-burning fireplace since regular paint is not highly heat-resistant. Painting the fireplace surround with regular paint should be okay, so long as it has some heat resistance and is applied in conjunction with a paint primer.
The type of paint you need depends on the type of lining you have in your fireplace. Does your fireplace have a brick or metal lining? Brick-lined fireplaces need paint that hides soot stains and creosote, while metal-lined furnaces should use a paint specifically designed to stick to metal.
Let’s briefly explain both scenarios below.
Brick-Lined Wood-Burning Fireplace
For a wood-burning fireplace lined with bricks, the best paint option is to use heat-resistant flat black paint that can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
This type of paint is formulated to minimize peeling, cracking, or blistering from the flames.
It usually has a silicone resin as part of its base; silicone is fantastic for withstanding high heat without becoming damaged.
Metal-Lined Wood-Burning Fireplace
For a wood-burning fireplace lined with a metal lining, choose a heat-resistant paint made for adhering to metal surfaces.
Other paints will not last as long as those made for painting on metal.
Remember to apply a special primer to the metal before applying the paint since metallic surfaces are nonporous and require some abrasion – like etching with a coarse brush and degreaser – for equal and even distribution of paint. While adding primer is not always necessary, it does help prevent oxidation from happening, which leads to rust and metal decay.
Can You Paint A Brick Fireplace With Regular Paint?
A brick fireplace surround can be painted with regular indoor latex paint. If you want to be safe, use heat-resistant paint. The inside of the fireplace should be painted with heat-resistant paint only. If you plan to never light your fireplace, regular indoor paint will suffice, but that does mean you cannot use your fireplace again.
We recommend choosing latex over acrylic or oil-based paints since latex is more breathable and durable than the latter two paint types.
Which Fireplace Surrounds Can Be Painted With Regular Paint?
We’ve already talked about brick fireplaces and brick surrounds, but what about other popular types of fireplace surrounds? Can they be painted with regular paint too?
Most fireplace surrounds should be painted with specially formulated heat-resistant paint, not regular paint. Wood, concrete, and stone can be painted with heat-resistant paint since they are porous surfaces and paint sticks well to porous surfaces. Fireplace surrounds made from nonporous materials like steel and unglazed tile, can be painted with heat-resistant paint. However, the paint must be formulated to adhere to nonporous surfaces.
Avoid using regular paint on steel fireplace surrounds. Use heat-resistant paint instead.
Similar to metal, paint does not adhere to steel well, so it is imperative that you only use a heat-resistant paint designated for a steel fireplace surround.
First prime your fireplace, then apply one to two coats of epoxy appliance paint. We like Rust-Oleum Speciality Gloss Stainless Steel Appliance Spray Paint for this.
Avoid using regular paint on wood fireplace surrounds. Use heat-resistant paint instead.
If you burn wood inside the fireplace, you’ll probably want to first apply a primer before painting to protect against dirt and soot.
We think a satin or eggshell finish looks best when adding color and sheen since both aren’t too shiny and give off a welcoming, warm glow. A semi-gloss paint goes the extra distance since it’s super durable from the high heat while also being stain-resistant and easy to clean.
On the other hand, semi-gloss is more challenging to apply than paint with a satin or eggshell finish since it unevenly sticks to surface flaws like textured wall grooves. Always remember to wash and prime before applying semi-gloss paint for the best results.
Stone and Concrete Surrounds
Avoid using regular paint on stone and concrete fireplace surrounds. Use heat-resistant paint instead.
Latex paint is the most popular choice for stone fireplace surrounds since it provides excellent color coverage, is fade-resistant, and doesn’t have that harsh paint smell since it’s water-based.
An eggshell finish is great too for stone and brick fireplace surrounds since brick and stone naturally have texture, and texture shows better through paint with an eggshell finish.
We like Benjamin Moore in Winter Snow and Dunn Edwards in Whisper for stone surrounds.
Avoid using regular paint on tile fireplace surrounds. Use heat-resistant paint intended for tile instead.
Opt for paint and primer in one, like this enamel paint from Zinsser.
Using leftover paint to revamp your fireplace may be tempting, but it’s safer and more cost-effective to use only heat-resistant paint. Using a paint that is safe for the high temperatures in your fireplace ensures that the paint won’t bubble, peel off, and cause toxic fumes that you and your guests won’t want to breathe in.
If you plan not to use your fireplace, you can use regular paint to paint your fireplace inside and/or outside.